Laura Rogers on The MVP Show

Laura Rogers on The MVP Show

Laura Rogers
Microsoft Business Applications MVP


  • Laura Roger talks about her family and love of food and shares a fun story about her recent trip to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights. 
  • Laura shares her journey into the tech industry and how she ended up as a SharePoint and Microsoft 365 expert. 
  • Laura discusses the ever-changing world of technology and the importance of staying current in the tech field. 
  • A conversation with Laura about the process of writing a SharePoint book, including research and planning, outlining, writing, and editing. 
  • Laura’s valuable advice for those interested in writing their technical book. 
  • Laura’s involvement in the community and how she became a SharePoint trainer and expert speaker. 
  • How Laura’s company IW Mentor SharePoint training started 
  • Laura offers free training sessions on YouTube and constantly records new content for her training company. 
  • Laura’s knowledge and expertise on the Power Platform and how it can be used to benefit businesses and organizations. 
  • How does Microsoft certification fit into what Laura is doing right now? 
  • Laura shares her own experience as an MVP, including the projects and initiatives she has worked on as an MVP. 

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Thanks for listening 🚀 - Mark Smith


[mark]: today's guest is from Alabama in the USA she is the owner and share point trainer of i w mentor she was first awarded nvpandtwenty eleven she is a share point and microsopt six five expert speaker author educator she has presented at over sixty conferences user groups n share point saturday you can find links to her bio and all social media in the show notes for this episode welcome to the show laura

[laura_rogers]: hello thanks so much for having me good to talk to you

[mark]: you too you know it's interesting you've come into the bizaps world via the m three six five side of the house right or the share point and i've come in by the dynamic side of the house over over my career and i've seen you you do a lot of stuff right you are always producing training educating people in the community

[laura_rogers]: right i do i do my free shows on wednesday my power hour just extreaming on youtube and then when i'm not doing that i'm constantly recording because the microsoph keeps changing things in microsa three sixty five so for my training company i'm constantly having to record things record new things

[mark]: awesome awesome so tell us a bit about food family and fun those three things we do outside of work what do they mean for you

[laura_rogers]: i love food i have three husband and three daughters they are eighteen fourteen and nine and we like to go to universal studios um just thinking about food my husband and i went there just last week before last too to halloween horror nights and they had all these delicious um all these different booths all around with different like sort of horror snacks and meals and deserts and things like that with horror spin to them and we just enjoy going around tasting everything and it was a very sort of adult event and we did not have our children with us and we had a blast but but we we enjoyed doing things like that of course it's a great time of year for going to fall festivals and things

[mark]: yeah isn't it great to be able to not have your children with you all the time like go out and do add old things that are not children related

[laura_rogers]: it's amazing and now that they're older the youngest is nine we feel less guilty about leaving them with a baby sitter so it's fun

[mark]: i've got two one is almost two and one is almost nine weeks old so

[laura_rogers]: so you're o that's it's really young

[mark]: they're very young at the moment and actually i've got a boy that's also almost eighteen so

[laura_rogers]: okay

[mark]: i've got that spectrum as well split

[laura_rogers]: wide range

[mark]: yeah totally totally so tell us a bit about how you got into tech you know what was your career starting point where whatever you're doing you know you decided to take it into technology

[laura_rogers]: well i actually don't have a degree in technology my degree is in kanesiology which is like p originally wanted to be a physical therapist and i but but i always loved when even in seventh grade we learned basic always loved programming and even you know took a couple of programming classes in college and so i kind of ended up round about just kind of getting into field that i always probably should have gone into in the first place but my first job was as my first it job was an n t administrator in a very just small office and they said they didn't care that i didn't have any it experience they just hired me and taught me how to do the ntadman of like these twenty users and do some like it was like s two and just some other unichsandthat an active rectory came out like during that job and so i got to learn active directory and now two thousan o m c c so then getting all that under my belt with that first job was very helpful to get all those certifications and um i ended up being a server ad man i was an exchange ad man i was on the messaging team at ended up being this large health care company and then in two thousand three two thousand four or so share point was invented they said here you all go learn this figured out go to some training and that's when i went to some mind sharp training with bill english and i remember my co worker sort of elbowed me and said that's the guy who wrote the share point book and i'm just like you recognized the guy who wrote the share point book you're inert so so he because that bill english was the was our instructor and so and this was in two thousand four or five and he said maybe two thousand six and then he said during the class i'm going to be writing another share point book share point two thousand seven is going to come out soon um anybody let me know if you want to be an author on this book and so i told him i could give it a try and he had me write a white paper just to kind of see how i would do if i you know was could write okay and he did corrections and things just like an editor would do to kind of see how i could handle all the like massive amounts of corrections that editors have to do that edors do to you that some peope take it personally and that kind of thing so um i ended up going to the best practices conference after i wrote a chapter in the moss administrator's companion and then i met him in person again and met of the other authors at that conference and that's when i said hey maybe i could try this whole speaking conferences thing and this whole blog thing they all seem to be doing and that's when i started kind of talking to the n p ps and things about how to start a blog and how to start a user group and how to get you figure out what i wanted to speak about i didn't realize that they all just kind of came up their own topics and nobody was sitting there telling everybody like assigning them things to speak about they just all came up with their own ideas so started coming up with ideas for that for my blog and then that and then of course getting your foot in the door becoming an author gets you the ability like asked to speak you know speak at things and write other books and share point nine one one shame young hired me um away from that health care company that i was working at so then i worked and he's you know huge in power aft now so there was sure point now in one and always got have to know on one so yeah shane was my old boss like back in two thousand nine or so so and we wrote several several of us at sharon and one wrote on several books together and um then he sold us to rack space and then rack space laid us off this was like five years later like

[mark]: yeah yeah yeah yeah

[laura_rogers]: and then um when after that all happened i just said well i've got enough of a following have like twenty thousand twitter followers and youtube followers and on ople recognized my blog and i feel like i can just go start my own company so

[mark]: nice

[laura_rogers]: i started i enter was about seven years ago and it's been fun to get my own little learning platform l m s my own platform and um we do training and consulting so sort of a long story very very quickly

[mark]: but wow it's so interesting because there are so many things that you mentioned there that you know dot through my career for those that don't understand mac is a macrosolcertified system engineer and you have so he got on the extensions around exchange and stuff back in those days as well and then what were the versions that we've had of share point you mentioned what was the starting point cause it wasn't called hare point to start with it was cold something else wasn't it

[laura_rogers]: it was portal server two thousand one was microsoft something portal server i don't know if it was called share point yet maybe share point portal server but i didn't really have experience with that one we started with share point two thousand three and so that's the one we started with and we installed and that's when we got training on in two thousand five or whatever and yeah and then two thousand seven was the one

[mark]: was there a massive transition when it went to online for you and from

[laura_rogers]: well yeah i think so especially with the number of changes i mean it used to be every you know three years or so you would then you would new features and things and remember back in the old days when you had to wait for the new features to come out and then they all came

[mark]: exactly

[laura_rogers]: out all the same time and they're ready just could write to write blog posts about all these new little trial these new little things but then once you figured out all the new things you were done figuring them out like that was

[mark]: exactly

[laura_rogers]: it wasn't changing anymore so it's been an interesting challenge having a training company and keeping up with very very rapid change a pace and mean weekly you could discover a new button in a tool bar and share point or find that they changed the name of a button or you know thing like that so i'm constantly like making notes and trying to make sure that my training keeps up with all that and but then also in the meantime try and the new products come out and new functionalities like so try to keep up with all that as well so that's that's that's been a huge difference i know i know a couple of other people that were in the training field just sort of said i'm out when sore point went on line because it's they saw that it was going to be too much to keep up with

[mark]: yeah and i feel that's that's the same side in dynamics you went from there was basically three courses and now there's the zillions of them right so it's

[laura_rogers]: dynamics

[mark]: crazy

[laura_rogers]: is a huge

[mark]: how it's growing

[laura_rogers]: yeah it's like that would be like learning share point all again over again from scratch yeah it's a lot

[mark]: something is about thirty products i think now on the suite what what was how much his power platform and the everything that comes with power played into what you're doing now

[laura_rogers]: um the power platform has been huge i used to so my passion is automating business processes so back in the health care company that i worked at even though i was a server edmond i really enjoyed an the users about their business processes showing them creating simple little work flows with them with sharp point designer creating forms within fo path so i really started i really got into creating in fo path forms and logic in the forms and the logic around automating the business processes combining with the work flows and getting really good at gathering requirements and figuring out what you need to know in order to automate the best ways to do it so trans trans made the transition from it was in fo path and share point designer for years over to mainly power as and power automate so i've replaced you know the s that i used to use with those so i'm in i'm in power as and building flows every single day and those are mainly the consulting jobs that we take a couple of years about a year and a half aft or i started this company my husband was able to quit his job he's in it as well and come join me at home in our company

[mark]: cool cool

[laura_rogers]: and he just dove right in and learned power as in was you know right when power episodes brand new so he's

[mark]: all right

[laura_rogers]: you know been evolving with it this whole time so he does he he does a ton of all our power apse and power and make consulting and we kind of split those between us and we also have a third employee joel who lives in atlanta and she does mostly share point projects but she's gotten into power as as well so yeah it's been great making the transition power apse is so much more flexible and powerful than in fo path ever dream being i love it

[mark]: you are you when you say you do consulting are you doing consulting on sight or is it all remote consulting

[laura_rogers]: it is all

[mark]: an particularly

[laura_rogers]: remote

[mark]: what

[laura_rogers]: all remote

[mark]: oh that's perfect right perfect

[laura_rogers]: so whenever the pandemic hit and everyone was moving to online we were already here we were already doing everything all our consulting and training online worked out really well

[mark]: good so you're training and so okay so it's all online so you don't do any class room lead so do you do live training

[laura_rogers]: sometimes like a twice a year or so it's just advanced power apse and power automate course that i teach but i still i think that even it's like three or four hours a day for five days there's so much to those products that i feel like i can fit a lot more content in the online in just self paste version that i can squeeze

[mark]: totally

[laura_rogers]: into like talking as fast as i can for three hours a day for five days and i'm getting them you know as much knowledge as i need to get them so it's because those products are huge they're huge so people think they want to learn it really quick but there is no you cannot just learn power epsinathat you can't there's just too much to it so that's that's been kind of challenging and interesting

[mark]: i also find with live classes because i've been teaching for years as well as that you can only go as fast as the slowest person in the class right and and and then if you got somebody it's really fast it's frustrated that you know the rest of the room i'm a bad student of instructor led training because i'm always a chapter ahead or wherever if there's cause wear and stuff because of you know work at different places and so i love you know learning that is self paced where you can control the speed you can speed up the video

[laura_rogers]: right i taught to exactly you just skip though you can go look for fine things that you want to learn instead of you having to wait for people i taught to know this conference community summit in orlando it was a couple of weeks ago i did a workshop there and it was a half day workshop but i feel like just even the simplest things i mean you're sitting ther waiting for people and it took you know like an hour and a half to do to just get everyone to just have done like a couple of simple things to me when it seemed like a couple of simple things and i was just like now i remember why while like my content is self past and even when i teach the live online class at the end of the day i say here's your lab now everybody go work on this for the rest of the afternoon and it's you know like two o'clock that's when they get started so then it doesn't matter if you have slow people because nobody's going to hold each other up they just go off and do it

[mark]: hm how much does certification marks off certification feature now and what you do

[laura_rogers]: oh that is that's a little frustrating because my audience my people my people my my my students and my power pop that joined me on my my life power hour on wednesdays these are share these are really share point people and most of them are small in medium business and most of them are like the share point son at work for small companies and these are these are not dynamics people at all so and and they mostly most of them work for companies that don't have it in the budget to have dynamics licenses and it's just not even in the realm of possibility for them and i don't have any dynamics content or model driven apse in any of my training and no literally no one ever asked for it because of that that's just who my audience is so it's a little frustrating to me that microsophs certifications around powerapps they all have lot of dynamics in them and i never look at dynamics i never use it and most of my students don't either so i got a couple of the earlier you know power platform power apcertifications a couple of years ago but i haven't tried to go get the more recent ones because it has zero application in anything that i ever do that kind of sounds bad but it's just practical you know

[mark]: it doesn't sound bad i think my last sirs that i did were in went eighteen or twenty nineteen and i haven't done it since because i've been doing certification for ten years and it's kind of like just another year another exam what's the point you know so but any certification around share point specifically nowadays or is there none

[laura_rogers]: i don't oh um i don't think so i mean the closest thing that i took a few years ago was it was like a office three sixty five admonand had share point admon in it and it had a bunch of power shell and things like that it was more hard core aden but it wasn't there isn't just a here's a share point si here's how to add members to it and design the home page there's not like that for like business users that exists and i think for business users what does it matter like if you're a marketing person and you're in charge of your share point site like what does anyone care if you have a or soft certification

[mark]: exactly exactly

[laura_rogers]: you know so it's not it makes sense that there aren't any

[mark]: yeah what's the you know ten years you've been in the v p program what's the biggest changes that you've noticed over those ten years

[laura_rogers]: um the biggest changes in the view program well the biggest thing has been the pandemic it's been not being able to see everybody in person so that's it was usually like a very really fun sort of family reunion every year when you go to n v p summit and back in the old days when before the cloud back when we had versions of share point it was really exciting going to summit getting to learn about and discuss with the product team what was possibly going to be upcoming in the version and give them our feedback and actually give them suggestions about the way to build the products and and so oh that's out the window now because everything is in the cloud and it's just you know you don't

[mark]: real time

[laura_rogers]: have the versions anymore so we there they're limited in how much advance notice they can give us about things and how because they're building things so fast that it's so it's not like it's totally different so it's the cloud and the pan mic that are both big changes

[mark]: what advice just in closing would you give to people um that think that they should become m p ps

[laura_rogers]: um the advice is that you need to get yourself out there and get a lot of views i think views are the biggest thing views of your content whether it's clicks on you know people reading a blog post get on you tube and make videos i think i think a lot more people make videos now than then blogging get a lot of views on your videos and then um you know just keep tweeting things and getting on social media and just push your content out there so that you can just get more eyes on it there are of course there are techniques that you can study for you tube for the best ways to get your video in front of you know using the captions with the all caps and you got to have you got to have your pose on the cover you tube video like

[mark]: correct

[laura_rogers]: pointing or something there's all these little tricks like that that pay attention to those because those actually make a huge difference in people clicking on your video so that's my advice

[mark]: yeah yeah awesome laura thank you for coming on the show

[laura_rogers]: thanks so much for having me that was a good that was a lot of fun talking to you

Laura RogersProfile Photo

Laura Rogers

Laura Roger has been working on SharePoint since 2004, and she runs his own SharePoint training company, called IW Mentor. She formerly worked in SharePoint in the healthcare industry for several years as a Systems Engineer, and then for SharePoint911 for a couple of years, which was bought by Rackspace in 2012. Laura worked there for four more years. She has 15 years of experience with Microsoft’s messaging and collaboration systems. This includes thirteen years in SharePoint implementation, training, and customization. She has been a Microsoft MVP since 2011.